Speckled Vanilla Bean Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream
Oh I love a good Macaron. They’re just the perfect little morsel of popping flavour. You can always play around with a combination of different ingredients; from traditional chocolate to the more contemporary blueberry cheesecake (don’t worry I will make these soon!) I’m always amazed at how surprisingly creamy Macarons are and how their different flavours develop like a party on your tongue. Even though everyone always says that Macarons are famously hard to make, they really aren’t as hard as they’re made out to be. The first time I made Macarons I was more terrified of their reputation than the prospect of actually making them. So take my word for it and gives these a try, just stay very close to the recipe. I decided to go a bit more fancy this time round and added a bit of speckled decoration which I think adds a really pretty touch. One thing that really bothers me is when I make Macarons I always have a load of egg yolks left! It just seems like such a waste to throw them away, but never fear I have chosen a buttercream which uses up the left over yolks, yay! I love Buttercreams that are made with sugar syrups, they always come out so silky whilst being buttery and bursting with fruity flavour at the same time! My logic behind making Macarons is that they are small so I wont eat as much as I would with a cake, but it always turns out that after I have made them (having already consumed half the ingredients in the process) I then proceed to eat 5 in one go. Although, I’m pretty sure this is the case with everyone… so I let myself believe anyway!
- 110g ground almonds (If you only have slithered almonds then continue to the link for this recipe and follow the instructions there)
- 200g icing sugar
- 100g egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 50g fine sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 90g castor sugar
- 90g soft butter (but not nearly melting)
- 10g water
- ½ cup raspberry jam
- Red food colouring
Line two baking trays with baking parchment and draw on 48 circles spaced an inch apart (I used a small shot glass). The circles should be around 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter (see above picture) Sift the icing sugar into a bowl followed by the ground almonds (this is how I have always made my Macarons, it is quite lengthy but always provides a great result) In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Cut open the vanilla pod and scrap out the seeds, add these to the egg whites. Slowly add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the meringue is shiney and stiff. Add the ground almond and sugar mixture to the bowl and gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Do not overwork your mix. You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted. Pour the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip. To make this easier, you can put the piping bag into a tall pot to keep it upright and fold the top of the bag over the edges to keep it in place. Pipe into small rounds on the baking sheets, keeping your nozzle vertical and rounding off the top. Bang your trays lightly on the counter top to knock any trapped air out. Leave the macarons to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour to form a skin.
Pre-heat the oven to 300˚F/150C. Bake for 10-18 minutes. Mine took 10 minutes. You will know the Macarons are done when they are hard to the touch on top. As soon as you take your Macarons out of the oven, slide the parchment off of the trays onto a countertop to cool. After 10-15 minutes, the Macarons should be easy to peel off of the sheets. The Macarons are delicate so be careful here. The bottoms of your Macarons should be soft but with a harder skin on the outside. (see picture below)
Decoration step: (skip this paragraph if you don’t wish to decorate your Macarons)
Take quite a paint brush and dip into some watered down red food colouring and, using your finger, flick the bristles so that the food colouring sprinkles over each Macaron. Repeat with half of the Macarons. Leave to dry.
To make the softened butter without leaving it out, wrap the butter in cling film and use a rolling-pin to roll over the wrapped butter and make it into a paste. Do not overwork the butter as you don’t want it to start to melt. Set aside.
Mix the sugar with the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, continue to boil until it reaches 121C (249F). Meanwhile, whip the egg yolks in an electric mixer on medium high-speed. They will begin to turn pale and thick. When the sugar reaches 121 C or 249 F, take it off the heat. With the mixer on high, slowly pour the syrup into the egg yolks in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl. Be careful not to splash the hot syrup, or your buttercream may from small sugar crystals in it and it may fling out of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium high, and continue beating until the yolks are thick and fully cooled. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and gradually add a small amount of butter ointment. Dont add more butter until the previous piece is fully incorporated. Continue to beat well until the buttercream is smooth. As the buttercream solidifies, add raspberry jam, and beat for an additional minute. If the mix can’t hold its shape then pop it into the fridge for 20 minutes. Fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe onto the underneath of one of the Macarons and sandwich another on top. Repeat with the rest of the Macarons.